Session Descriptions

Adoptive Immunotherapy

Ex vivo technology is providing the capability to expand, select, and modify varying immune cell types to yield large numbers of antigen-specific (tumor-specific) cells that can be infused as clinical anti-tumor therapy. Different methodologies are utilizing recognition capabilities of T cells that are derived from their own TCR repertoire, versus conferring specificity, by providing them with genetically modified receptors based on TCR recognition, mAb recognition, or other ligand-specific receptors. While T cells have been primarily utilized in these trials, these manipulations are also relevant to NK cells, which are also being evaluated. This session will focus on the rationale, distinctions and capabilities of these different forms of adoptive cellular immunotherapy and what clinical settings are showing clinical benefit.

Antibody Recognition to Engage Cells of the Innate and Adaptive Immune Systems (Antibody Dependent Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity: ADCC)

Certain mAbs and their derivatives can enable tumor-selective recognition by their specific interactions with molecules expressed on tumor cell surfaces. Therapeutically-focused interventions, directed to activate immune effector cells, engineer changes in the mAbs, and create fusion proteins of the mAbs and agents that activate effector cells, are being developed and used preclinically and clinically. The goal is to enable diverse effector cells within the patient that might not otherwise be able to selectively recognize their cancer to become activated and focus their immunologic activities on mediating effective direct or indirect anti-tumor responses.

Biomarkers & Immunoscoring

The evaluation of the tumor microenvironment represents a new approach in the staging of cancer. The analysis of the tumor lymphocyte infiltrate and the contextual evaluation of the different immune cells in the different parts of the tumor are the basis of the Immunoscore concept, a very recent prognostic approach. Even if the colorectal cancer was the start point for the immunoscore evaluation, the immune infiltrate is heterogeneous between tumor types. For this reason, it will be important to characterize the intratumoral immune infiltrate in other tumors to strengthen and validate the concept of Immunoscore as a prognostic factor. Moreover, it was reported in different kind of cancers that the gene expression signature may be associated with a better patient outcome. The immunoscore and the gene signature represent the next challenge for discovering predictive biomarkers useful for patient selection. This session will provide an update about the recent findings in this field.

Combination Approach in Cancer

In the era of new compounds, such as the target and the immunomodulating agents, the optimal combination of all these will be the next challenge for the treatment of cancer. Of course, these combination strategies should start from a good biological rationale with the main goal to improve the effectiveness of the single agent therapy and to reach a long-term survival for the cancer patients. This session will be focused on some of the crucial points for the combinational approach like the rationale for combining chemotherapic agents with immunotherapy, and preliminary results about the combination of the different new compounds in the different kinds of cancer. Moreover, considering that a treatment with different drugs means an increase in the cost, this session will also address the important question “what will be the costs and who will pay for the combination approaches?”

Metabolism and Immunity

The tumor microenvironment is conditioned by the highly abnormal metabolic state of the tumor. This includes hypoxic stress, autophagy, and abnormalities of glucose and amino-acid metabolism. Immune cells within the tumor microenvironment, including effector T cells, APCs and regulatory T cells, are profoundly affected by these local metabolic conditions. In addition, cells of the immune system, such as macrophages and dendritic cells, can further contribute to the immunosuppressive metabolic milieu by consumption of the amino acids tryptophan and arginine. These multiple metabolic abnormalities are sensed by signaling pathways such as mTOR, GCN2 and HIF-1a, which contribute to the abnormal immune response, but which are also potential targets for therapy.

Tumor Immune Resistance and Overcoming It

Immune escape and acquisition of tolerance by cancer cells contribute to tumor growth and progression. For this reason, extensive attention has been paid to overcoming the immune resistance of tumors as a novel strategy for cancer therapy. After the positive results of the ipilimumab treatment, the PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint pathway has recently emerged as a valid target for cancer immunotherapy. Moreover, the immunoregulatory enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) represent another possible target for overcoming the tumor-induced immune inhibition.

Tumor Microenvironment And Innate Cells Recognition

The goal of the session is to present and discuss the most recent science contributing to our understanding of players in the tumor microenvironment, including the immune signaling pathways at play in the tumor microenvironment resulting in the global inhibition of immune effector cells, identification of novel therapeutic targets for modulation, and linking the genome analysis in TEM with the immune status.


The goal of the session is to discuss recent progresses in vaccination against tumor antigens as well as the parameters of effective anti-tumor CD8+ T cell immunity. Furthermore, novel developments in therapeutic vaccination will be discussed, including targeted therapies and other strategies to generate effective T cell immunity in vivo, endogenous vaccination.

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Prometheus Laboratories


Celgene Corporation
Provectus Pharmaceuticals


Argos Therapeutics

Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
National Institutes of Health
Department of Health and Human Services

Immuneering Corporation

Lonza Walkersville


Prima BioMed